Saturday, February 20, 2010
I have just come up from downstairs and am covered head to toe in a very fine ash sawdust.We are making rope blocks for this vessel. There are 59- 6" blocks which amounts to 120 cheek (side)pieces and 20 middle pieces. There are single blocks as well as double and triple blocks. There are wooden spacers (webs) between the cheeks and middles (in doubles and triples) to allow space for the sheaves and rope. They are drilled and bolted through. We glued them with epoxy as well. Then they are shaped and sanded down and then varnished to help protect them and prevent them from splitting.
We have already made the 11',10' 8' and 7' blocks. Really I should have started to blog earlier in the process but who knew....
We started the whole process about a year and half ago or better. Last November ('08) we invited 100 or so of our friends to a keel laying party here at the boatshop. We had the keel (the backbone of the schooner) and the deadwoods already in place and had cleared the boatshed so that our friends could safely move about and socialize. We had our son's girlfriend, Brenda Mac Donald pipe in the guests for the evening. She did an amazing job. As I recall, it rained a sea so we made sure that she and her bagpipes were out of the weather. The Master of Ceremonies for the night was our friend Nello Romagnoli, who had made the trip from Ontario with his wife, Janet, for the occasion. A brief history of my husband's boatbuilding and sea going ancestry was put forth (from Ireland and great grandfathers to Truro) and then we had a ceremonial inspection of the keel, performed by John MacNab. He proclaimed her sound and to continue with the building. The last thing to happen before we retired to wonderful meal of turkey, cabbage rolls and seafood chowder with dessert, of course,was the driving of the golden spike. This secured the bronze keel plate which bears her name and the date of her beginning. We had 4 generations help with the fastening of the keel plate: The original Lena Blanche, Warren's Mother, then 90 years old hammered the spike in her kitchen in Seal Harbour, N.S. because she was unable to make the journey to Truro. She is a fine woman and with pleasure we asked if she would honour us by allowing us to use her name as the name of this vessel. She allowed it and thus the name of the schooner- long may she sail.
The representative of the next generation was Warren's sister, Linda Pellerin. She gave several sturdy wallops of the hammer to the bronze spike and turned it over to the next generation. Our daughter , Bria, took the hammer with enthusiasm and struck the spike with glee. She laughed and passed the 5 lb. hammer to our granddaughter, Emily, who promptly complained that the hammer was too heavy. Bria helped her get it set up and then she gave the spike a few timid taps. Her father, Neil, and grandfather, Warren, good humouredly told her to hit the spike harder. She passed the hammer to Grampie to finsh the job. With several thunderous blows the spike was driven into the keel plate and keel. Home at last. Great applause and congratulations ensued. It was fun.